On 27th April 2018 sentencing guidelines for terrorism offences came into force. These were published in March and have been introduced to deal with the changing nature of terrorist offending and to ensure that courts have the guidance needed to deal with such cases to punish offenders and disrupt their activities.
As the offending is low in volume compared to other offences, individual judges do not deal with them frequently and the offending itself is extremely varied. The purpose of the guidelines is to assist judges to reach appropriate sentences and to lead to greater consistency and transparency in sentencing of such cases. Prior to these guidelines the Court of Appeal issued guidance in relation to sentencing for the preparation of terrorist acts. These new guidelines cover a wide range of terrorism offences, including preparation, causing or attempting to cause an explosion, collecting or sharing extremist material, raising funds for terrorism, glorifying terrorist acts, failing to disclose information about terrorist acts and joining or supporting a banned organisation.
The guidelines do not directly cover offences where death or injury are caused by acts of terrorism since these would be charged as murder or assault, but guidance is included to help those sentencing such offences where there is a terrorist connection.